Foto af Patrick Hendry hos Unsplash

The Verkhovna Rada has passed a law restricting the use of thin plastic shopping bags.

The thin, transparent plastic bags can be a thing of the past in Ukraine. The Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, passed a law that will prohibit stores from distributing thin plastic bags, according to Kyiv Post.

Almost 300 members of parliament voted for the law, that is designed to protect the environment from plastic pollution. If it is approved by the president, the law will take effect nine months after it is passed.

The fines for breaking the law range from USD 310 to USD 620 while repeated offences could lead to fines up to USD 1240. In addition, handing out plastic bags for free will be prohibited. Stores are required to sell them at a price fixed by the cabinet of ministers.

This law will inevitably send a check to be paid by the consumers, but it is a long awaited piece of legislation in Ukraine, where plastic pollution is a very visible problem. Both in the city and outside the city in forests, all kinds of plastic can be found almost everywhere where people come.

According to Kyiv Post, only six percent of the plastic bags are recycled, while the rest end up in landfills, if they are properly thrown out. The landfills in Ukraine are not developed and most of them can’t hold more waste.

It is a well known fact that the 30,000 Ukrainian landfills and dumps are not designed for recycling. In addition to this, only around 6000 of the landfills are considered legal, meaning that the vast majority of waste dumps are not maintained properly.

This handling of trash is damaging for the surroundings, but it also leaks pollution into the ground water, meaning that it will be a problem long after the dumps have been replaced by modern waste facilities.

Currently, it is a problem, but it very well might also turn into an opportunity for Scandinavian companies with experience in this field, should the Ukrainian authorities decide to invest in better waste facilities.